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charliebrumfield
04-14-2009, 12:40 PM
http://www.charliesportfolio.com/imagesOnOtherSites/first-batch-is-a-brewing.jpg

and now i'm wishing i had found this forum before i started too. oh well...

anyway they guys up at home brew HQ, got me started, any by started i mean they sold me everything they said i needed with the instruction of "mix this package and this package with some water and 12lbs of honey... that will be $60 dollars. have a nice day." ??? needless to say i left a tad bit confused.

so from what i can tell, the "recipe" if you can call it that, that i used was 12 lbs honey, roughly 4 gallons of water, two 5g packages of lalvin d47 yeast. some yeast neutriant, and some stuff to add to add to the water to replace the minerals that were removed when i ran it though my RO filter. (i keep reef tanks so that's why i have one)

so from what i gathered this is just a basic water-yeast-honey mix with some food added for the yeast correct? or did i just totally screw something up? i'm guessing i haven't done anything to bad yet, since the yeast is bubbling away in the 5 gallon carboy this morning. it's producing ~ 82 bubbles a minute though i guess it's called a bubbler. (some sort of plastic thinga-ma-gig i was told to put vodka or water in and stick it in the rubber stopper to keep air out)

anyway as you can see i really have no clue what i'm doing and i'm probably well on my way to producing a concoction that could either peel paint, or ferment my inerds. i've got a bunch of equipment that i'm not to sure what to do with, that i will try to photograph later today and see if you guys can tell me what it does.

Medsen Fey
04-14-2009, 01:11 PM
Welcome to GotMead? Charlie!!!

It sounds like your batch is off to a good start.

You should check out the NewBee Guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14). It will give you a lot of useful information so you can understand the process.

The most important piece of equipment is a hydrometer - a long glass tube with calibration marking on it. Make sure you have one, along with a tube or cylinder to float it in. This will help you to know when it is truly finished.

At the moment, you should take the plastic thingy (called an airlock) and the stopper out to let some air in, then swirl the mead around to aerate it. Start slowly and gently or you will have a foaming gusher that I fondly call a Mead Eruption Accident (MEA for short). After swirling for a minute or two, you put the stopper and airlock back on.

Try to keep it in a place where the temperature is less than 70F if possible.

You should get some good mead but it will take a few months so you have to "hurry up and wait".

Good Mazing!
Medsen

charliebrumfield
04-14-2009, 02:46 PM
just got though reading it. throughly confused... ??? guess i'll have to read it a couple of times before it sinks in.

note to self. swirl does not mean shake...:eek:

akueck
04-14-2009, 04:01 PM
note to self. swirl does not mean shake...:eek:

Oh you'll figure that one out very quickly. ;)

Don't worry about the entire guide being a little confusing now, it will start to make more sense as you go through all the steps yourself. Experience is the best teacher, the guide is there to help you make good choices along the way.

charliebrumfield
04-15-2009, 04:30 PM
quick question how fast should the fermentation be slowing down? from what i gather it should be pretty steady for the first three days then start to drop off right or am i way off base?

Medsen Fey
04-15-2009, 04:43 PM
It can vary quite a bit from batch to batch. I have even had a batch finish completely dry in just over 48 hours - surprised me!

It is typical for the fermentation to be vigorous for 2-5 days and then to gradually slow down until it stops. However, judging the rate of fermentation should be performed by checking the gravity with a hydrometer, not by the bubbling of the airlock as this is notoriously unreliable.

wildaho
04-15-2009, 04:52 PM
quick question how fast should the fermentation be slowing down? from what i gather it should be pretty steady for the first three days then start to drop off right or am i way off base?

Time is a consequence and not a variable. There are so many factors that can affect the speed of your ferment that there is no way we can predict it with any certainty. What temperature are you at? What was the actual content of your yeast nutrient? How often (and well) are you aerating? What is the pH of your must? These and other factors will all affect how fast your ferment goes.

Your best bet is take regular hydrometer readings to track the progress. That way you will know for certain when it's done or if there is a problem. Also, record as many other factors as you can (temp, aeration, nutrient additions, etc.) for future reference. It'll make your next batch go that much smoother or at least make troubleshooting easier.

:cheers:
Wade

charliebrumfield
04-15-2009, 06:30 PM
cool. i guess i'll go pick up a hydrometer this afternoon. all i've get is a refractomer, and i don't know if that will work.

wildaho
04-15-2009, 07:30 PM
You can use a refractometer but it's more complicated than a hydrometer. Have you used one for fermentation measurement before?

Medsen Fey
04-15-2009, 09:39 PM
cool. i guess i'll go pick up a hydrometer this afternoon. all i've get is a refractomer, and i don't know if that will work.

A refractometer will work fine, though I still like to use a hydrometer to confirm readings frequently. There are some caveats however. For one, as alcohol starts to build up, it throws the refractometer readings off so you have to plug the numbers through a calculator (http://onebeer.net/refractometer.shtml)(or do the math) to correct for that error. You cannot just convert the Brix numbers to a specific gravity, or else you'll think you are stuck when you are not. A normal mead that starts with a reasonable gravity will end completely dry with a refractometer reading of 8-11 Brix (rather than zero) due to this alcohol error. Also, you need to make sure the device is calibrated.

There are good threads on the subject Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13678&highlight=refractometer) and Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13678&highlight=refractometer). There is also some detailed discussion in the Patron's area if you do some searching.

Happy Mazing!
Medsen

charliebrumfield
04-15-2009, 11:05 PM
You can use a refractometer but it's more complicated than a hydrometer. Have you used one for fermentation measurement before?

nope this is the first thing i've ever fermented... intentionally that is. my grandpa got me interested in it. he makes one hell of a mead.


A refractometer will work fine, though I still like to use a hydrometer to confirm readings frequently. There are some caveats however. For one, as alcohol starts to build up, it throws the refractometer readings off so you have to plug the numbers through a calculator (http://onebeer.net/refractometer.shtml)(or do the math) to correct for that error. You cannot just convert the Brix numbers to a specific gravity, or else you'll think you are stuck when you are not. A normal mead that starts with a reasonable gravity will end completely dry with a refractometer reading of 8-11 Brix (rather than zero) due to this alcohol error. Also, you need to make sure the device is calibrated.

There are good threads on the subject Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13678&highlight=refractometer) and Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13678&highlight=refractometer). There is also some detailed discussion in the Patron's area if you do some searching.

Happy Mazing!
Medsen

i think i'll just grab a hydrometer. they are cheep and i don't really want to jack with all the math, and my refractometer is all the way over by my reef tank. that extra 20 feet is one hell of a walk. :rolleyes:

charliebrumfield
04-15-2009, 11:08 PM
thanks for the links, some good info there. i had no clue what a sugar break was before...